Comics are so popular these days. And kids love them! Why not try a comic book art project? The perfect cross-curricular combination of drawing, writing and storytelling, creating comics is a fun way to shake things up. Comic books are also a great way to reach students who may not be interested in more traditional art projects.
Before you begin, gather a good sampling of comic book styles, from classics like Hagar the Horrible and Peanuts to super hero comics to Garfield, Bloom County, and The Far Side, to share with your students. Discuss the number of frames used, the use of color versus black and white, the different drawing styles, the plot lines, and continuing stories versus one-off strips.
Next, brainstorm the different kinds of stories your students might choose to tell in their comics. Once they’ve got a topic in mind, your students will start by writing their stories—remind them to keep it simple and broad. Students will divide their stories into pieces to match the number of panels in their strips and will need to be able to tell their story in just a few frames.
Starting on scratch paper, have students sketch the characters in their strips, then roughly sketch out the scenes for each panel, leaving room for any dialogue or story lines.
Now students are ready to move to comic strip boards or comic cells they’ve pre-drawn, sketching each panel one at a time and adding the dialogue or story lines in pencil. When all panels are complete (and dialogue is spell checked), students can trace their work using black pens or Sharpies, adding balloon shapes around any dialogue. Cover any mistakes with correction fluid. Finally, finish by having your students colors their comic strip, if they wish.
When the lesson is finished, you may choose to compile copies of your students’ strips into a classroom comic book or post them online on your school’s website to share with family and friends.
Have you created comic strips with your class? How did it go? Share your tips in the comments below.